Killington to host 2005-2006 freestyle national championships{mosimage}The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association has announced venues for alpine, nordic and freestyle national championships for the 2005-06 season.

Killington’s Bear Mountain will host the 2006 Sprint U.S. Freestyle Championships March 23-26. That same week, the U.S. Alpine Championships will return March 26-30 to Sugarloaf/USA in Maine. The U.S. Cross Country Championships Jan. 3-10 will return to the 2002 Olympic trails at Soldier Hollow, Utah, for the second season in a row and third time since 2000. Steamboat Springs, Colo., and Park City, Utah, will also host national title events.

The U.S. championships – which also include disabled cross country and disabled alpine ‒ match the best U.S. Ski Team athletes with hundreds of aspiring American skiers looking to measure themselves against world-class racers as they aim for spots on the U.S. Ski Team.

‘This is an exciting lineup of venues for us’ said Annette Royle, vice president of events for the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association. ‘The Olympic season always generates plenty of excitement and interest, and these venues have shown their ability to host top-level competitions.’

More than 200 of the top freestyle and new-school athletes from across the country will compete in moguls, aerials and, for the first time at a national championship event ‒ superpipe. The event will also mark the first U.S. appearance of freestyle members of the U.S. Olympic Team following the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Torino, Italy.

The four-day event will kick off Thursday, March 23 with superpipe competition, followed by single moguls on March 24, aerials on March 25 and dual moguls on March 26. All events will take place at Bear Mountain with Outer Limits, the steepest, longest mogul run in the East, as the venue for both moguls and aerials. Aside from the athletic competition, live music and a product expo and festival will take place in and around the Bear Mountain Lodge.

The addition of superpipe to the U.S. Freestyle Championships format will open the doors for new athletes to compete at a national championship level. In addition, new-school big-air athletes will once again compete head-to-head with traditional aerialists on Saturday at Bear Mountain.

“The interest from USSA clubs and programs has grown over the last few years and the addition of superpipe in the national championship program is an exciting opportunity for those athletes to show off their skills at the next level’ said USSA Freestyle Program Director Polly-Jo Clark.

This year’s site for the U.S. Alpine Championships is no stranger to hosting national championships. Sugarloaf hosted the 1996 and ’97 U.S. title races as well as a 1971 alpine World Cup. 2005 alpine World Cup overall champion Bode Miller spent his years as a junior racer at Carrabassett Valley Academy, located at Sugarloaf.

The U.S. Cross Country Championships will include the U.S. Disabled Cross Country Championships. The U.S. Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined Championships at Steamboat Springs, Colo., also are expected to generate extra excitement as the final events before the Olympic team is selected. This will mark the fourth straight season and 12th time in the last 14 years that Steamboat has hosted nationals. And The Hartford U.S. Disabled Alpine Championships will be held Feb. 13-17 at Park City Mountain Resort in Park City, Utah.

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